TONIGHT: The Royals face the Round Rock Express in a 7:05 p.m. game at The Dell Diamond. It's game 2 of the series, which Round Rock leads 1-0. Air-time is 6:45 p.m. on Magic 1490 and at www.Oroyals.com.
LAST NIGHT: The Royals could not cash in on several scoring opportunities in the 1st 5 innings and wound up getting shut out 1-0. Round Rock starter Jason Hirsh (5-2) got the win, despite walking 5 Royals in his 5.0 innings of work. Hirsh gave up the only 3 Omaha hits, as Roberto Giron finished with 4.0 perfect innings of relief to notch his 2nd save. The only run of the contest came in the 4th, when Luke Scott delivered the 1st of his 2 doubles on the night with 1 out and then scored on Royce Huffman's single up the middle. Brian Boehringer (0-1) took the loss in his 2nd start for Omaha, scattering 7 hits over 5.0 frames. Joe Nelson fired 3.0 scoreless innings of relief.
ROYALS REPORT: The Royals went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position in the 1st 5.0 innings last night, leaving 8 runners on base. On the season, Omaha's team average with RISP is .247. *** Last night marked the Royals' 4th shutout loss of the season and 2nd vs. Round Rock. The Royals were blanked 4-0 at The Dell Diamond on May 7, with Chris Baker - tonight's starter for the Express - getting the win. Baker worked 6.0 innings of 3-hit relief in that game, after Trever Miller made a rehab assignment start and tossed 1.0 inning. *** Omaha is now 1-7 vs. Round Rock this season, with 3 of the losses coming by 1 run. The Royals are 5-11 this year in games decided by 1 run. *** Nelson, just sent down for a 2nd time by KC, equaled his longest outing of the season last night in his 1st appearance from Omaha since May 11. His 3.0 shutout innings ran his scoreless streak with Omaha to 6.0 innings over his last 4 appearances, dating back to May 7 at Round Rock. *** Boehringer has allowed only 1 run in both his starts for the Royals. Despite his 1.54 ERA, he's 0-1 and has received just 1 run of support while on the mound in each of his outings. *** Mike Aviles delivered his 12th double of the season leading off the 4th inning last night. One out later, he was thrown out at 3rd on a close play trying to advance on a grounder to short. Aviles has 1 hit in 6 straight games (.261, 6-23, 3 2B, 3 RBI). *** Chad Allen, who has missed the past 10 games with a sore hamstring, is expected to play in this series. Allen had put together a 10-game hitting streak (.463, 19-41) just prior to the injury. *** J.P. Howell, who has not pitched since April 30 due to shoulder stiffness, is expected to be activated from the DL and start tomorrow night. Shortstop Andres Blanco is also expected to rejoin Omaha tomorrow from KC. *** Nashville beat Albuquerque 8-4 last night. The Sounds have won 4 straight and are now 9.0 games ahead of the Royals in the American Conference North. Albuquerque has lost 5 in a row and is just a-half game on top of Round Rock in the American South. *** The Royals have dropped 6 straight road games, 1 game shy of their longest skid on the road this season.
STARTERS: RH Ryan Baerlocher (2-2, 3.38) vs. RH Chris Baker (5-1, 1.80)
Baerlocher makes his 3rd start (10th appearance) of the season. Two of his last three outings have been starts, but his last appearance was in relief on Wednesday vs. New Orleans. He was not involved in the decision in the Royals' 6-4 win (3.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 2 K). Baerlocher has faced the Express once, pitching in relief on May 5 at The Dell Diamond and taking the loss in a 4-3 defeat (3.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 BB,. 2 K). In his 2 starts this season, he's 0-1 with a 4.82 ERA. The 28-year old right-hander began this season at extended spring, joining Omaha on April 27. In 2005, Baerlocher opened the season on the disabled list after undergoing Tommy John surgery on July 16, 2004. Once off the D.L., he made 3 starts for Omaha, going 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA. He was sent to Wichita and went on to become that club's Pitcher of the Year, after posting a 7-5 record with a 3.44 ERA in 15 starts. In 89.0 innings for Wichita, he walked just 27 batters while striking out 63. Baerlocher was selected by KC in the 6th round of the 1999 draft out of Lewis-Clark State College, where he was a member of NAIA National Championship teams in 1996 and 1999.
PROBABLES FOR REMAINDER OF SERIES:
Mon., 7:05: LH J.P. Howell ( 3-2, 5.67) vs. RH Jared Gothreaux (2-3, 4.59)
Tue., 7:05: RH Kyle Snyder (0-4, 3.88) vs. RH Ezequiel Astacio (1-1, 3.74)